The Creation Process of Bogdan’s Adventures

By Sammy Nishihama 

April 30, 2024

At Morro Bay High, students typically either participate in the film fest for two reasons: they are really interested in filmmaking, or it’s just a fun project with their friends. The film Bogdan’s Adventures, created by sophomores Callum Mehiel, Rowan Basch, Abbie Leitner-Woolf, Luna Urbina, and myself, is definitely the latter. I asked one of the filmmakers, Callum Mehiel, how he would describe the project, and he told me, “goofy, stupid, and French.” 

The film, which will be submitted to the foreign language category of the film fest, began as an assignment for a French class. As the group began to gather more ideas, a combination of multiple very outside the box ideas was born - that of a time traveling French man named Bogdan, who kidnaps Jim, a man from Georgia (the state, not the country)as they travel through history together ( against Jim’s will).  The one barrier, however - Bogdan only speaks French (but understands English), and Jim doesn’t speak or understand any French at all. 

As I began to ask about the inspiration for the film, everyone really had the same answer. Mehiel tells me, “Rowan had an idea, I’m not really sure how he got it, but then we just kept piling on and making it as stupid as we could.” He also comments, “Rowan came up with the original idea. There was just no plot. Rowan wanted there to be no plot.” This film wasn’t ever meant to be taken seriously - it’s a fun and silly project that ended up being officially submitted to the film fest. 

The beginning scene of Bogdan’s Adventures pre-editing (Photo credit: Callum Mehiel)

While this project was incredibly fun to work on, there were many unforeseen challenges in completing it. The script was the first of many bumps in the road. “Coming up with the idea for the script was easy, actually getting it done was hard,” says Mehiel. Additionally, he told me, “well, our main actor quit halfway through,” referring to the laxity of the group in the beginning stages of the film’s creation. 

Rowan Basch, one of the co-stars of the film, plays the character of Bogdan, the lovely time traveling French man. I asked him to comment on some of the challenges that the group encountered, and he immediately told me, “I did not quit, we had creative differences and I retired from scripting.”  Although there were some pretty big challenges, the group also had a lot of fun making this film. Basch commented on his favorite scene, saying, “I loved the walking scene, that was really fun. I was like hunched over on a yardstick, it was goofy.”

I also asked the group what made their film unique compared to others within its category, and the main response I got was, “we have sock puppets,” referring to the third character, Socky, who occasionally makes an appearance on the screen. 

Though there were more struggles in the process than anticipated, the majority of it was smooth sailing, and all of it was worth the hilarious end result. While the quirks of the film hugely impacted the production, this project was still super fun and entertaining to make, from the brainstorming process all the way to filming the last scene.